Cowries And Rice



Podcast by Winslow Robertson


  • Episode 79 - Will there be a ban on China's commercial ivory trade?

    19/09/2016 Duration: 35min

    The Illegal ivory trade, is a quite contentious issues in Africa-China relations. There are merely and estimated 470,000 elephants remaining on the African continent today, a sharp decline from 1.2 million in 1981. Poaching of elephants for their ivory is a key driver of this crisis, with about 20-30 thousand elephants each year killed. Data from the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species or CITES shows that China is a major market for this ivory. There are reasons to be optimistic however. In September 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barrack Obama jointly committed to enact nearly complete bans on ivory import and export. During the eighth session of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue back in June of this year, China announced that it will set a timetable to phase out commercial trading in ivory by the end of 2016. We actually discussed on episode 62 that one of outcomes of the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) were strong pledges by China to help

  • Episode 78 - How Africa fits into China's G20 agenda

    06/09/2016 Duration: 46min

    The G20 Summit, an international forum for governments and central bank leaders of the world's 20 largest economies, is being held for the first time in China on September 4 and 5. Since China is the host and assumes the mantle of the G20 presidency, its government has an active role in crafting the Summit agenda. The theme of the Summit focuses on three core concepts "innovation, integration, and inclusion" and the areas of priority include: the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change (which was just formally adopted by China and the U.S. on September 3), creating and implementing entrepreneurship action plans, as well as supporting industrialization of Africa - which is of great interest to this pod. There are 4 African countries participating at the Summit and Africa's industrialization is a topic that China insisted on putting in the Summit agenda. To talk more about the place/role of Africa in the Summit and the role of China-Africa relations in shaping China's leadership for the G20,

  • Episode 77 - Chinese youth are changing the wildlife conversation on the ground

    26/08/2016 Duration: 32min

    China’s complicated relationship with wildlife trade does the country no favors in regard to its international standing, despite a slow and steady attempt by the country to improve its regulatory environment in regards to ivory, rhino horn, and more. While much of the world frets over what the Chinese government is doing, there is a startling lack of attention on the role of Chinese individuals in helping combat illegal wildlife. China House, a client of mine and the first Chinese social enterprise in Africa, is organizing a Color Run in Kenya to take place on August 28 to not only raise awareness among Chinese youth regarding this issue, but also to show Chinese and Kenyan support for stronger ivory regulations in the upcoming Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (or CITES) 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties, which will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa from September 24th to October 5th, 2016. To talk about the event, we have on the pod Winnie Won

  • Special Episode - Behind the scenes of Chinese diplomacy with Amb. Shu Zhan

    23/08/2016 Duration: 37min

    At the 4th Chinese in Africa/Africans in China Conference, held in Nairobi, Cowries and Rice and the Sino Africa Centre for Excellence Foundation found time to interview one of the greatest Chinese diplomats who helped shape the China-Africa relationship - Amb. Shu Zhan, China's former ambassador to Eritrea and Rwanda and unsung architect behind the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). If you ever wanted to know about the arc of China-Africa relations from the side of China's diplomats, or even how FOCAC started in the first place, this episode is for you.

  • Special Episode - Live from the 4th Chinese in Africa/Africans in China Conference in Nairobi

    21/08/2016 Duration: 21min

    At the 4th Chinese in Africa/Africans in China Conference, held in Nairobi, Kenya, Cowries and Rice teamed up with the China Africa Project and the Sino Africa Centre of Excellence Foundation to produce a rare triple-podcast looking at the role of media in knowledge production in the Sino-Africa relationship.

  • Episode 76 - Technology transfer in South Africa

    10/08/2016 Duration: 45min

    Technology transfer is one of the most potentially beneficial aspects of the China-Africa relationship, but how many training centers, visits to China, etc. actually deliver on that promise? June Sun, who is a MPhil candidate at University of Oxford's Oxford Department of International Development (ODID) where she studies international development joins us to discuss that topic. She recently authored a Policy Brief on that subject for the Johns Hopkins' School of Advanced International Studies' China-Africa Research Initiative entitled "Technology Transfer in Telecommunications: Barriers and Opportunities in the case of Huawei and ZTE in South Africa."

  • Episode 75 - Incubated in China, a memoir by Shubila Ruth Kikoko

    03/08/2016 Duration: 33min

    More and more Africans in China are sharing their experiences with the outside world on their own terms. Blogs, videos, songs, etc. are springing up all over the internet to give testimony to their experiences. We are fortunate to have on the pod Shubila Ruth Kikoko, who is pursing a PhD Strategic and Risk Management at Wuhan University of Technology whose memoir "Incubated in China" will be released in August of 2016. This book chronicles her journey from Tanzania to China and will be an incredible resource for anyone that is researching African students in China.

  • Episode 74 - Following up on FOCAC with Tang Xiaoyang

    03/08/2016 Duration: 38min

    The Sixth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation was held in Johannesburg in December of last year. which resulted in China pledging $60 billion in mostly loans and export credits to the countries of Africa. On July 29, delegations from 51 African countries met in Beijing for the Coordinators' Meeting on the Implementation of the Follow-up Actions of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (or FOCAC). Having a follow-up meeting to discuss the particulars of FOCAC implementation is a step common to all FOCAC meetings. In order to talk about this step we have invited back on the pod Dr. Tang Xiaoyang, Deputy Director of the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy and an associate professor in the Department of International Relations at Tsinghua University. He is the author of the book China-Africa Economic Diplomacy (2014). Prior to Tsinghua, Dr. Tang work for the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, DC. He also worked as a consultant for the World Bank, the U.S. A

  • Episode 74 - Sicomines, the IMF, loans, and power

    02/08/2016 Duration: 46min

    The Sicomines deal is one of China's largest "minerals for infrastructure" deals in Africa as well as one of its least understood. China Exim Bank extended $6 billion worth of credit to a Chinese consortium, called Sicomines, that would have mineral rights to Katanga province in the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, the deal was initially worth $9 billion and required a renegotiation as the International Monetary Fund argued that a Congolese debt-reduction plan could not include Sicomines due to the structure of the loans. Dr. Johanna Malm just earned her PhD from Roskilde University and joins us again on Cowries and Rice to discuss Sicomines - except that her dissertation argues that the IMF portrayed the $ 3 billion infrastructure loan within this particular agreement as a cheaper concessional loan, whilst in fact it was a significantly more expensive commercial loan. This was to ensure that the DRC could continue the debt relief process that was blocked by Sicomines - “For political reasons, the IMF a

  • Episode 73 - Chinese businesses in Africa, CSR, and Chinese government policy

    10/04/2016 Duration: 38min

    In this episode, we go back to a topic we have previously discussed at Cowries and Rice yet one that we judge timely and important enough to revisit: Sustainable development. Both sustainable development and developing sustainably seem to be important slogans for China - Africa relations and reflect Chinese policy priorities. In order to further look into questions of the impact of development on the environment and Corporate Social Responsibility practices by Chinese firms abroad in general and in Africa more specifically, we have invited to the pod Ms. Xiaoxue Weng who is a researcher in International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)'s Natural Resources Group.

  • Episode 72 - Lily Kuo!

    25/03/2016 Duration: 41min

    This pod is an excuse to speak with Lily Kuo, who we have been following for quite some time. There is a good chance that, if you are listening to this podcast, you have had the pleasure of reading Ms. Kuo's brilliant reporting, whether on Chinese hackers in Kenya or Zimbabwean elephants headed for China. She is one of the few journalists in the world with a China-Africa beat. Ms. Kuo covers East Africa and China in Africa from Nairobi for Quartz. She previously reported for Quartz from Hong Kong. Before that she covered general news for Reuters in New York and the Los Angeles Times in Beijing. She holds a dual master’s degree in international affairs from the London School of Economics and Peking University, as well as degrees in English and Spanish from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She won the 2014 SABEW award for best international feature for a series on China's water crisis.

  • Episode 71 - China and Ghana

    11/03/2016 Duration: 50min

    Today's episode is going to focus on the Golden relations between Ghana and China, specifically around mining. To discuss this topic, we are inviting Prof. Yang Jiao on the pod. Prof. Jiao earned his doctorate in cultural anthropology from the University of Florida where he worked on the topic of mining. He is currently a visiting assistant professor at the University of Miami in Ohio where he teaches anthropology and continues to do China-Africa research.

  • Episode 70 - Knowledge production, rumors, and truth

    05/03/2016 Duration: 01h54s

    A lot of China-Africa research is done through onsite interview, but what are the strengths of limitations of that kind of research - that is to say, how do people on the ground produce the knowledge they share with researchers and scholars? To help us answer that question, we have invited on the pod Derek Sheridan, a PhD Candidate at the Watson Institute for International & Public Affairs at Brown University. Mr. Sheridan' dissertation research looks at the China-Africa relationship from the perspective of people involved in the micro-politics of different forms of Chinese business in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: the formation of interpersonal relationships, negotiations over the value of both people and the commodities exchanged between them, and the everyday production of knowledge regarding Tanzania, Africa and China’s place in the world. He just presented his research at the Harvard East Asian Studies Conference.

  • Episode 67 - Chinese New Year in Africa

    20/02/2016 Duration: 43min

    ALERT: This is a Mandarin-language episode. To celebrate the Chinese New Year of the fire monkey, Cowries and Rice brings to you a a very special edition of the pod. Host Yiting Wang asks five Chinese guests to share with the listeners how they spent their New Year’s Eve and Day as well as their new year plans in their respective African countries, all in Mandarin. First on the pod are: Sun Chuyi from China Minmetals Inc. in Johannesburg, South Africa; Yang Bo from AVIC International in Nairobi, Kenya; and Zhuyang Zhenghong from CITIC Construction in Yaoundé, Cameroon. In the follwing segment, two Fellows from the Nairobi-based social China House – Li Huizhen and Lu Kaili join us to share their stories. 为庆祝中国农历猴年新年,Cowries and Rice特别为听众朋友们带来一期中文播客。主持人王怡婷与五位洒落在非洲各地的中国小伙伴畅谈他们在非洲过年的体验以及新年计划等话题。首先来到节目的是在南非约翰内斯堡工作的中国五矿集团的孙楚宜,在中航国际驻肯尼亚内罗毕的杨博,和中信建设驻喀麦隆雅温得的朱杨正宏。接下来,我们有请到中南屋的李慧珍和陆凯丽来分享关于中南屋伙伴的迎春活动和最新动态。

  • Episode 69 - How the SACE Foundation supports African entrepenuers

    18/02/2016 Duration: 46min

    If you are an individual African entrepreneur, what sort of organizations are available to you to help navigate the Africa-China relationship? There are a number of friendship societies, often initiated by ex-diplomats, and trade associations, but today we wanted to highlight a young and dynamic non-profit involved in in this field: the Sino Africa Centre of Excellence (SACE) Foundation. Based in Nairobi, Kenya, they aim to to facilitate China-Africa trade and investment through three pillars: SACE Research Hub, SACE Projects, and Business Advisory Services in partnership with Botho Limited. You might remember them from their publication China Business Perception Index: Survey on Chinese Companies’ Perception of Doing Business in Kenya, which was published last year. To talk more about this foundation and how it serves African entrepreneurs as a whole, we have invited Adedana Ashebir to the pod, who is the SACE Foundation's Africa Business Development Lead.

  • Episode 68 - Why every Africa-China researcher should be following SAIS CARI

    17/02/2016 Duration: 26min

    If you are listening to this podcast, there is a good chance that you have heard of Prof. Deborah Brautigam and her research - "The Dragon's Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa" published in 2010 by the Oxford University Press is, for a lot of young scholars, the gateway by which they became interested in Africa-China affairs. However, not nearly as many people are aware of Prof. Brautigam's research center, the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies' China-Africa Research Initiative (SAIS CARI) and we want to remedy that, so hosts Winslow Robertson and Lina Benabdallah (Yiting Wang is sadly absent) invited Janet Eom on the pod. Ms. Eom is the Research Manager at SAIS CARI, and previously she researched the impact on society, environment, and labor relations of Chinese activity in Africa at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing. She discusses the SAIS CARI post-doctoral research fellow position and other opportunities for researchers as well as the vision for the Initia

  • Episode 66 - China in the Middle East and beyond

    05/02/2016 Duration: 53min

    President Xi Jinping's first overseas trip of 2016 was to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Iran. Between January 19th to the 24th, Xi visited each country and signed dozens of agreements worth billions, although as is always the case with China-Africa numbers, those amounts should be taken with a grain of salt. Still, it was deft diplomacy to visit both Saudi Arabia and Iran in the same trip, considering they are mortal enemies. In addition, Xi's visit to Egypt was significant: the country is supposed to be major artery for One Belt One Road, and also Egypt was the first African country to recognize China in 1956 - so President Xi and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi attended a celebration marking the 60th anniversary of those relations at the opening ceremony of the Sino-Egyptian Culture Year in 2016. To talk about the Xi's visit and China-Middle East relations more broadly, we have on this episode: Lina Benabdallah, a PhD candidate at the department of Political Science and Center for African studies at the

  • Episode 65 - So what is it like being African entrepreneur in the Africa-China relationship?

    27/01/2016 Duration: 31min

    What is the role of the African entrepreneur on the African continent in the Sino-Africa relationship? To answer that question first-hand, hosts Winslow Robertson and Lina Benabdallah have invited Norbert Haguma on the pod. Haguma is: CEO of the AfrOrient Group, a one stop solution for any Asia-Africa project which was established in Hong Kong in 2009 and moved to Kigali in 2015; as well as Vice President of the Rwanda Diaspora Global Network. Haguma spent 10 years in China as a student, translator, consultant, IT engineer, and manager, but recently moved back to the African continent to leverage his considerable Sino-Africa expertise for the AfrOrient Group, leading trade and cultural delegations in Africa.

  • Episode 64 - Chinese wholesalers in Kampala

    18/01/2016 Duration: 53min

    Hosts Winslow Robertson, Lina Benabdallah, and Yiting Wang look at the lives of Chinese wholesalers in Uganda with Dr. Ward Warmerdam, who received his PhD from the international Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in the Hague and is an economic researcher at Profundo. Most recently, he has been working on Chinese wholesalers in Kampala, but his research broadly focuses on China’s engagement with Africa, the lessons from China’s own development experience, and how these inform China’s aid principles and practices. He has published “Having, Giving, Taking: Lessons on Ownership in China's Domestic Development and Contributions of its Engagement” Forum for Development Studies, 2013. Before embarking on his PhD studies, Dr. Warmerdam lived in China for 10 years running his own consultancy and language institute.

  • Episode 63 - Sustainability, SEZs, and the UNDP

    06/01/2016 Duration: 58min

    Over the past few months, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in China has put out two phenomenal Sino-Africa reports: the 2015 Report on the Sustainable Development of Chinese Enterprises Overseas, co-authored by the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce and the Research Center of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration under the Commission of the State Council, which was released on November 9; and If Africa builds nests, will the birds come?: Comparative Study on Special Economic Zones in Africa and China, which was written in conjunction with the International Poverty Reduction Center in China and released on December 17. To talk about those reports, and for what UNDP China has planned for 2016, hosts Winslow Robertson, Lina Benabdallah, and Yiting Wang have invited on the pod Hannah Ryder, the Head of Policy and Partnerships for the UNDP in China, to the pod. She leads a group of national and international experts in UNDP

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